Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore

The coverage the al Qaqaa explosives story has gotten is not worth a damn. Leading the charge is CNN with talking points from Team Bush and not much else. But I'm surprised at MSNBC. Every now and then, they peek their head above the water and I want to watch them because I feel like they may actually have journalists working for them. Then they go and hire Michael Savage or fall into line to be more Fox than Fox. Case in point. Today's story from MSNBC. The headline is totally misleading and so is this part near the top of th story:

Timing of theft of Iraqi explosives remains a mystery U.S. troops didn't find materiel in initial search An NBC News crew that accompanied U.S. soldiers who seized the Al-Qaqaa base three weeks into the war in Iraq reported that troops discovered significant stockpiles of bombs, but no sign of the missing HMX and RDX explosives.
That is misleading because, as Josh Marshall has pointed out, this wasn't the first search. Another U.S. team searched the base on April 4, 2003 and found the stockpile intact. Also, as the imbedded reporter states herself, they were there for a total of 24 hours, not nearly long enough to search and catalogue what was kept in such a massive facility. Her unit was moving on to Baghdad, not there to search and secure the weapons at al Qaqaa. The truth is that the explosives were there through the fall of Baghdad, not taken away in the middle of the night by Saddam. This is sometime after April 9, 2003, and interestingly enough, the Iraqis have the date further pared down to Sept. 4, 2003, according to a letter from them to ElBaradei. The Iraqis say they told L. Paul Bremer in May of 2004 about the missing explosives, but the administration claims they didn't find out about this until Oct. 15 and now they are looking into it. UPDATE: CNN has a lot of crap in their online story, but they're getting better. This version has the NBC news team bit, and a Pentagon spokesman bringing up the possibility of the explosives being taken before Baghdad had fallen. It is missing a lot of the story, like the part where the Iraqis informed Bremer in May and that the Bush team still hasn't sent anyone to find out what's going on. They do have this quote from Lai Ling Jew, though: She said the roads were cut off "so it would have been very difficult, I believe, for the looters to get there." Pathetic reporting.

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